Updates and links from the Columbia Basin Rural Development Institute (RDI), March 26 2020

Employment Income and COVID-19

The outbreak of a novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, is affecting Canadians in unprecedented ways. With the Government of BC declaring both a public health emergency and a  provincial state of emergency [https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020PSSG0017-000511], our society and economy are experiencing dramatic shifts. As  businesses are reducing their services and closing their doors [https://newsinteractives.cbc.ca/localcovid19/?region=BC] to help reduce the spread of the virus, many worker’s livelihoods are at risk.  Employment Insurance (EI) [https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei.html] is one of the tools the federal government is using to  support workers affected by COVID-19 [https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/corporate/notices/coronavirus.html].

Employment Insurance is an indicator tracked through the State of the Basin initiative to monitor well-being. When individuals lose their jobs through no fault of their own, such as a shortage of work or lay-offs, EI is one of the benefits available. The number of EI beneficiaries in a community or region can indicate differing economic opportunities and challenges. As there are a number of reasons a person may access income assistance programs, this indicator should not be viewed in isolation, but rather in consideration of other labour, economic, and social circumstances.  EI data [https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=1410032301] is available from Statistics Canada at the regional district level on a monthly basis. The following analysis includes data over one year, from 2018 to 2019.

The general trend in the number of EI beneficiaries across the Columbia Basin-Boundary region is an overall decrease of 0.1% from 2018 to 2019. As illustrated in the graph below, the Regional Districts of East Kootenay, Kootenay Boundary, Columbia-Shuswap, and Fraser-Fort George all experienced decreases in EI beneficiaries during this time, with some of these decreases being very minor. Central Kootenay is the only Regional District to experience an increase in EI beneficiaries from 2018 to 2019 of 3.6%, or 640 people. The relative stability in the number of EI recipients in Kootenay regional districts between 2018 and 2019 reflects  the same stability seen in other labour market indicators [https://www.central1.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/ECON_EA_BC_202001.pdf] such as total employment and the unemployment rate. Economists have observed that while certain industries have experienced sizeable shifts over the past two years, the overall Kootenay labour market held steady due to  the re-distribution of jobs among sectors [https://www.bccpa.ca/news-events-publications/government-relations/regional-check-up/kootenay/].

On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, Prime Minister Trudeau declared a  federal economic response plan [https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/03/canadas-covid-19-economic-response-plan-support-for-canadians-and-businesses.html] to support Canadians impacted by COVID-19, including measures to streamline EI claim processes and increase availability of funds. This has been passed through parliament as the  new Canada Emergency Response Benefit [https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/03/introduces-canada-emergency-response-benefit-to-help-workers-and-businesses.html] that expands the eligibility of EI and will be available to Canadians in the coming days.

An unprecedented number of Canadians applied for EI last week. Examining local EI data again after the influence of COVID-19 will be one way to measure the pandemic’s impact on the Columbia Basin-Boundary region.

See the  State of the Basin website [http://cbrdi.ca/Research/State-of-the-Basin] for more information on other indicators of regional well-being.

The team at the RDI wishes everyone good health during these unprecedented times.

Letter of support from Aimee Watson, March 2020

Good Morning Area D,

How is everyone doing? Are you getting the essentials you need to hunker down and enjoy the best staycation of your life? I am obviously trying to stay positive, I am grateful that we live in a natural setting for social distancing and one so beautiful, I am feeling odd rays of inspiration for what may come out of all of this. 

That being said, this will not be smooth and there are many impacts, most notably to the very core of how we all live- our economy. Whether we believe finances should rule or not, the reality is they do. 

One of the silver linings I am hoping for is that we will adjust our economy to be place based more then global, farming and food production is one of the best examples for this. 

In the process, however, many are facing tough choices and much insecurity when it comes to keeping the house warm and food on the table. Both the Federal and Provincial government are providing daily updates that include more supports being rolled out. Keeping track of them and knowing what specifically pertains to you is a challenge.

There are two sites that I have found to be particularly helpful in navigating all of the announcements, Community Futures of Central Kootenay and MLA Michelle Mungall’s website. 

Community Futures is for businesses and Michelle’s website provides all of the updates with new ones highlighted the day of. 

Please reach out to me (via email or phone, i do not use messenger) if there is anything I can help you with. The RDCK’s primary focus is ensuring your essential services are able to deliver. As your elected official, I will assist where I can in these challenging and unprecedented times. 

I am aware of community delivery services in Kaslo for those that are vulnerable or in quarantine. If Area D remote communities need support, I am happy to coordinate.

If i can make one request of all of you- please be kind to each other, we are moving through this with our own stories and our own needs. I ask you to have open hearts, willingness to listen, help when we can and be there for each other, this is what makes this place the amazing place it is. Stay true to that. and STAY HOME!



Kaslo & Area Chamber of Commerce shared updated COVID 19 resources.

#COVID_19 Bulletin: March 24, 2020
Information for Businesses

BCEDA #COVID19 Resources for BC Businesses Guide

All of these updates are now located in one document. This shareable, live guide is being continually updated with the most relevant information, tools and resources for the BC business community. Click here to view.

Newly Updated:

Information for Economic Developers and Local Leaders

BCEDA Webpage Update

The #COVID19 resources shared by BCEDA, have now been split into two categories: 

1. Resources for BC Businesses – we encourage you to share these resources with your business community. (These updates are at the top of this bulletin)
2. Resources for Economic Developers and Local Leaders – information for communities including templates and examples .

Around the Province: Examples of What BC Communities Are Doing

#StrongerTogether – Have you developed processes or resources that you would like to share with other communities? Please email to info@bceda.ca

COVID19: Indigenous Tourism Response
Today – March 24th at 4:00 PM PST​

Watch ITAC President, @KeithHenryMetisFacebook Live on March 24th at 4:00 PM PST. He will have Federal Minister of Economic Development, Hon. Mélanie Joly on to address measures the government is taking to help the Indigenous tourism industry during the COVID-19 crisis. Watch here: https://bit.ly/2WBdZRS

COVID-19: First Nations Community Guide on Accessing Additional Supports

Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) is working closely with First Nation partners, the Public Health Agency of Canada, other departments such as Heath Canada, Public Safety as well as provincial and territorial counterparts to protect the health and safety of First Nations and support First Nations communities in responding to the public health crisis resulting from the novel COVID-19.

In order to support First Nations in preparing for and responding to COVID-19, which has been classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization, the Government recently announced two funding tracks through which First Nations communities can access resources:

1. $100 million for areas of federal responsibility, including for First Nations, Inuit and Métis community public health needs. These funds will:

  • Respond to identified needs to update and/or activate pandemic plans;
  • Support an effective allocation of the limited public health and primary health care capacity to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak;
  • Align response efforts with scientific evidence as determined by a medical officer of health; and,
  • Address immediate needs in the short term.

2. $305 million for a new Indigenous Community Support Fund

  • This fund will be allocated on a distinctions-basis and will provide leadership with the ability to make choices that work for their communities.
  • It is anticipated that funding will be used to both proactively address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation communities. Communities will be able to proactively respond to emerging needs as they arise.
  • Funding will begin to flow in short order through existing mechanisms.
  • More information will be available soon.

Please note that the information outlined below is in regards to accessing support either through the $100M announced last week or other existing programs for which expenditures related to COVID-19 may be eligible. Additional information on the $305M Indigenous Community Support Fund will be available soon.

The Government of Canada has dedicated resources to respond to the urgent public health response including for Inuit communities.

We have also developed the COVID-19 First Nations Community Guide on Accessing Additional Supports

We will continue to receive feedback provide guidance information and support communities.

More resources are available at https://bceda.ca/coronavirus.php

North Kootenay Lake Vet, Pat Haegedorn, call ahead service

Please be aware that we are trying to implement social distancing measures by controlling traffic flow in the clinic. If you are feeling unwell please call and cancel your appointment – we will gladly rebook you at a later date. If you feel you cannot delay your appointment, please consider asking a friend to bring your animal instead to respect our staff’s health by limiting their risk.

call 250 353 7125

Small Business BC support in services and networking.

Find out what we are doing to help small business owners during this challenging time.


More than ever – we are here to help you

We believe this is a time for the small business community to come together to help each other overcome challenges and find solutions.

At Small Business BC we’ve been working hard to provide you relevant resources to help you navigate the current business landscape. We recommend following our Twitter account for the latest updates.

1. Stay updated with our COVID-19 resources page (https://smallbusinessbc.ca/article/resources-for-small-businesses-affected-by-coronavirus-covid-19/?utm_campaign=march20&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=covid-resources)  – access the latest practical resources for small businesses – including summaries of any relevant federal and provincial announcements for small business.

2. Download our business continuity checklist (https://smallbusinessbc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/small-business-resource.pdf)  – help minimize the impacts of COVID-19 to your employees and operations with this checklist.

Join our Digital Meetups for community support (https://smallbusinessbc.ca/article/join-small-business-bcs-digital-meetups/?utm_campaign=march20&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=digital-meetup)  – a webinar for the small business community during COVID-19 – an opportunity for businesses to help share their challenges and solutions.

Read our article about pivoting during a time of crisis (https://smallbusinessbc.ca/article/covid-19-managing-and-pivoting-during-a-time-of-crisis/?utm_campaign=march20&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=pivot-article)  – practical ideas to help you manage your business in this uniquely challenging time.

5. Need advice? Although our office is closed, our team is working from home and available to help (https://smallbusinessbc.ca/contact-us/?utm_campaign=march20&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=contact-us)  – while we don’t have all the answers, we are staying up-to-date and will provide you the best answers we can
MORE FROM SBBC (https://smallbusinessbc.ca/?utm_campaign=march20&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=home)
Results of our survey – how business has been impacted by COVID-19

As some of you may have seen, we shared a survey – asking businesses the impact of COVID-19 so far – with our partners BC Chamber, Community Futures and BCEDA.

Here is a summary of the results:
* 90% of businesses are “currently being impacted by COVID-19”
* Of those impacted, 83% are seeing a “drop in revenue, business, or deal flow”
* 91% anticipate a further “decrease in revenue in the near-term” [sic]
* 73% of businesses expect their revenues will drop by 50% or more (with nearly a quarter saying revenues will drop by 100%)
* Half of the respondents say they will be “temporarily shutting down” their offices.
* 64% of respondents expect to reduce their staff by over half (with a quarter saying they will be reducing their staff by 100%)

Thank you to everyone who participated in the survey, although the situation is constantly changing, it enables us to share these insights with both the federal and provincial government – and the intelligence you shared with us is helping shape how government reacts to this pandemic crisis in real time.

We encourage you to continue to take part in these surveys, and to share your updates with us, so we relay your messages as best we can.
FIND OUT MORE (https://smallbusinessbc.ca/article/an-update-on-covid-19s-impact-on-bcs-small-business-community/?utm_campaign=march20&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=survey)
On Our Radar
* Register for our first Digital Meetup: how to pivot your business and adapt at 11am today ( March 20 (https://zoom.us/webinar/register/2015846382604/WN_klHeJ2BlSSaihZx0HqmpkQ) )

* Canada’s six biggest banks take action to help customers impacted by COVID-19 (https://cba.ca/canada-six-biggest-banks-take-decisive-action-to-help-customers-impacted-by-covid-19?l=en-us)

* Read ways to support small business during COVID-19 (https://smallbusinessbc.ca/article/how-to-support-your-favourite-small-business-during-covid-19/?utm_campaign=march20&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=ways-to-help-small-businesses)  ????

* The small business continuity checklist is also available in Korean, Punjabi, Simplified Chinese & Traditional Chinese (https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/employment-business/business/small-business/resources)

* Share this article with family, friends and colleagues on dealing with anxiety during COVID-19 (https://www.heretohelp.bc.ca/infosheet/covid-19-and-anxiety)

Employment services contacts, March 19


Nelson Training Centre & Administrative Office contact: 250-352-6200 |1-888-952-6200 | centre-nelson@workbc.ca

Nelson WorkBC Centre contact: 250-352-6200 | 1-888-952-6200 | centre-nelson@workbc.ca

Nelson Youth Employment Centre contact: 250-352-6200 |1-888-952-6200 | centre-nelson@workbc.ca

Castlegar WorkBC Centre contact: 250-365-6515 | 1-855-365-6515 | centre-castlegar@workbc.ca

Trail WorkBC Centre contact: 250-512-3001  | centre-trail@workbc.ca


Update from RDCK Director Aimee Watson, March 16

Well as life as we know is changing fast and in ways we are not quite sure what they will look like, some things are continuing as planned. Here for your reading pleasure are this months agendas for Rural Affairs, Joint Resource Recovery and Board. Below the links is my Directors update which includes our proposed direction on Lardeau Park. 

Rural Affairs:

Joint Resource:


Directors Report March 2020
1. Budget 2020
As many have read in the recent Valley Voice, we are amid our annual budget road show. This is when we bring the DRAFT RDCK budget to the residents. We walk through how taxation works, services you have and details on proposed needs for the year. Unfortunately, there were a few errors in the article.  
For one, yes, we are still in DRAFT form. March of every year is when the budget is approved by the board. The process starts in September. With 187 services and many of them having commissions and committees, it’s a long process!
We present the budget to the public so you, as the taxpayer, understand how taxes are determined and where they are being used. This does provide opportunity for feedback but no, not all feedback can be incorporated into the final. This year’s presentation walked through the increasing mandated roles of local government that come from other orders of govt; traditionally known as downloading and they are a significant portion of increases for 2020. These requirements are rarely negotiable.
The other misunderstanding was the number reported as the proposed increase to taxation for 2020. The VV provided the % increase of total funds raised, not the rate of taxation. The increase in total funds raised is not straight across what the increase is to the resident, assessment is also a part of that equation. 
Assessment is the total value of land holdings in a region. This includes all aspects to property value and with new builds, construction occurs, property values go up and the total assessment for a region increases. 
In 2020, Area D’s assessment is: $43,386,654  
In 2019 it was: $40,784,793 an increase of 6.38%
The Assessment is what is used to determine the rate per thousand that each resident pays for services. 
TO determine taxation at the RD, we do not due flat percentage rates, we determine the cost needed to deliver a service and then divide that total by the assessment available. This gives us rate per thousand and thus sets the tax rate. 
In Area D, you have 17-21 services. For a full list and details on each, please contact me. 
Total for all 17 that every resident in Area D participates in is $673, 979. Divide that by the total assessment (43,386,654) and the rate per thousand in 2020 is $1.55/$1000. The provincial fee is then added, bringing it to $1.63
For those with the additional services; water, fire, library and mosquito- the rate per thousand will be higher. 
In 2019 total cost for services in Area D was $588,554 with a rate per thousand of $1.44+ province=$1.51. An increase of 8.5%
This second number is what you use to determine your actual taxation for the year. Take your assessed value, $250,000, you would times 250 x 1.53= $407.50. That is what you would be paying in 2020. In 2019, it would have been $377.50. This is an increase of 8% to a $250,000 home. Still high, but not 14% which is the TOTAL amount raised. 
So now that no one is still reading this….
What are the big drivers for increases in 2020?
Due to increased responsibilities:
– Recreation: WorkSafe standards
– Fire Services: Office of the Fire Commissioner sets requirements on Fire Training, WorkSafe BC
– Emergency Management BC –Emergency Programming Impact; the Emergency Program Modernization will have further implications, set to be announced in the fall of 2020 as well as changes to the Wildfire Program
– Resource Recovery – Recycle BC impact on recycling costs and WorkSafe 
Shared Services (Kaslo and Area D both participate) with increases:
– Fire Services (increasing remuneration for fire fighters) 
– Economic Development (chamber support, housing society, north Kootenay Lake rural revitalization project)

2. Lardeau Park
I want to start by thanking everyone who participated in the consultation process. The last consultation round in 2015/2016 resulted in such little feedback, that Mayor Hewat and I could not move forward without considering an enhanced public engagement process. This time, you participated! Many times! Being engaged in your local services is democracy at its core, kudos team D! and Kaslo!
Now, the challenge is to ensure that public concerns and aspirations are understood and considered in the plan. Mayor Hewat and I met and went through ALL of the consultation, together we agreed to put forward a management plan for Lardeau Park with the following amenities:
– No wharf
– Simple design, some capital works; bathroom, move road off foreshore, parking adjustments, 2 picnic tables 1 bench and an accessibility path connecting these amenities.
– Potential for expansion into the remaining crown area between Lardeau and Davis Creek; if so, it will also be simple amenities 
– No camping, day use

The Lardeau Park plan will be on the RDCK board agenda for April 16th. The plan includes consideration of all consultation received during the process and this is when the board will be able to review all input received. Final decision on the Lardeau Plan becoming an operational document for the RDCK will be made by the Regional Board at this meeting. However, the plan is a guiding document. The phases are intended to show a progression of actions, but when and how much each costs are not set in stone. All actions will be subject to available funds. We intend to use as much grant funding as we can for capital works and redevelopment phases, these funds are not set aside through taxation in advance. 

3. Road to Kaslo Transfer Station responsibility 
Well I must admit I was wrong! I was asked about who was responsible for road management to the Kaslo Transfer Station and since the road was annexed into the Village a few years ago, I assumed it was the Village. This is partially true. There is a shared road agreement between the Village and the RDCK, the Village manages it in the summer and RDCK contract out management in the winter months. 
With that, here are the contacts should you have concerns with the road:
Winter: The RDCK at 250-352-6665 or 1-800-268-RDCK (7325)
Summer: The Village of Kaslo at 250-353-2311